The Battle for the Caucasus 1942-43...
...an Images of War book from Pen and Sword
Title: The Battle for the Caucasus 1942-1943
Author: Anthony Tucker-Jones
Publisher: Pen and Sword Books
I am a fan of the Images of War series of books from Pen and Sword. Author Anthony Tucker-Jones has done quite a number of them now, and this one is another well written addition to his contributions. The second of two recent books from Anthony, though unlike his other title on Tank Wrecks on the Eastern Front, there is hardly a tank to be seen in this one. It provides interesting text, accompanied by the collection of archive photos, which tell the story of the German push into the Caucasus region. This was on the right flank of the city of Stalingrad, between the North Eastern side of the Black Sea and the Western side of the Caspian sea. What we see in the photos this time it concentrates on the people. German, Romanian and Russian troops all feature, along with civilians. The photos also give a good illustration of the extremes of weather faced by all sides on the Eastern Front, from hot dry summer to the deep snow of winter.
The push into the Caucasus, Operation Edelweiss, was an attempt to capture valuable mineral resources in the region, including oil, which would have not just guaranteed supplies for the German military but cut it off from Stalin at the same time.
An Introduction explains the background to the story of the campaign. As with the whole campaign on the Eastern Front, after initial success, it ended in a withdrawal, though a difference this time was that the withdrawal was authorised by Hitler, and the Germans forces managed to achieve it with large numbers of troops being able to escape, along with their supplies and equipment. The book is divided into 8 chapters, each one with a few pages of explanatory text, followed by a set of appropriate archive photos, all with informative captions. The chapters cover Stalin's Lifeblood: The Stalingrad Flank: Operation Edelweiss: Road to Grozny: Battle for Grozny: Luftwaffe Air Offensive: Defeat in the Taman, and then all rounded off with The Aftermath, when Stalin's security forces sought revenge on those who were felt to have supported the German offensive. Perhaps a legacy that was to trouble Chechnya years later. It closes with a note that thankfully one particular 12 year old (in 1943) survived, but to find out who that was, you'll need to read the book.
Thanks to Pen and Sword for this review copy.